In a match that went three sets with each one going down to the wire, Pettisville volleyball took down Fairview 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 Thursday at home to claim the Division IV sectional title.
“Very happy with winning sectionals,” said Pettisville coach John Horning. “I thought our 13 aces were very important to making some runs and defensively I thought we were very scrappy.”
The Blackbirds trailed for most of the first set until a tip from Morgan Leppelmeier knotted the score at 20.
The two teams continued to alternate points, then a pair of Fairview hitting errors gave Pettisville the lead, 24-23. After a Blackbird hitting error tied the score once again, Fairview’s serving error and a Sami Tilley block for Pettisville gave them the first set.
Pettisville built up as much as a nine point lead in set two, however, the Apaches battled back late in the set. With the margin at 21-14, a Pettisville serving error, Allison Vetter’s shot from the left side, a kill by Pettisville’s Jess Youse and a Blackbird error got it to 22-17.
The Birds followed with two more hitting errors, then Vetter’s kill made it a two point margin.
“Fairview was a very scrappy team,” said Horning. “I also thought their serving and serve receive game was very strong and allowed them to keep the sets tight.”
However, Carly Bontrager’s dig fell for a point and an ace by Teagan Kauffman put Pettisville at game point, 24-20. Despite committing errors on the next two points, Kendal Pursel closed it out with a tip at the net to give the Birds a two sets to none lead.
Refusing to go away quietly, the Apaches were neck-and-neck with the Birds in game three.
Pettisville did not take the lead for good until Kauffman’s shot from the left side and a pair of Bontrager aces forced a Fairview timeout with the difference at 19-16.
Youse’s point over an Apache block extended that lead, but Fairview’s Kelsie Crites responded with a kill, Vetter a shot from left and Lexi Johns’ ace got it to 20-19. The Birds then got kills from Kauffman and Leppelmeier around errors by both teams to put them back up three.
Kauffman put a bow on the match with a pair of aces, giving them the set 25-20 and the match 3-0.
“We have had some close sets throughout the season and we know we need to stay calm, not over think and play our best ball,” said Horning on his team grinding out the win. “I thought each set (when) we did get frustrated, we just focused on the next point and finished strong.”
Leppelmeier finished with 11 kills and eight digs for Pettisville, Youse added eight kills and three blocks, and Teagan Kauffman 10 kills and 11 digs.
Pettisville will take on third seeded Antwerp Tuesday at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the district semifinal at Defiance. The winner will face either Hicksville or Ayersville Thursday for the district crown.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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